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Jewish Film Festival

Spring Films

All films at the Rialto NewVision Theater
250 East Broad Street, Westfield

The Catcher Was a Spy

Wednesday, April 24 • 7:30 p.m. 

Director: Ben Lewin
Language: English
Running Time: 98 minutes

Morris “Moe” Berg (Paul Rudd) the protagonist of this based-on-true-events film was that rare breed of the scholar athlete. A Princeton graduate fluent in more than half a dozen languages, he passed the New York bar exam while beginning his professional baseball career as player and coach in the early 1920s. This movie sketches out his baseball career then concentrates on his dangerous and emotionally fraught spy mission for the United States government: a confrontation with the German physicist Werner Heisenberg. Berg’s assignment is to determine whether the scientist is making a fission bomb for the Nazis. If he believes Heisenberg has embarked on such a project, he is to assassinate him.


Tuesday, April 30  • 7:30 p.m.  

Director: Mike Burstyn
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, English with English subtitles
Running Time: 75 minutes

A day after the Israeli-Egyptian cease-fire ending the Six Day War, two soldiers — one Israeli, Moti, and one Egyptian, Rashid, are trapped alone in an abandoned UN bunker in the middle of the Sinai Desert. The wounded Rashid is hiding, not knowing the war is over. Moti knows the war is over, but seeks shelter from the blazing sun after his jeep breaks down. In this gripping feature, Moti and Rashid communicate in passable English as they alternatively try to kill each other and flash back to their civilian lives and loves. When it becomes apparent the only way each can survive is by forging an uneasy truce and cooperating, can they rise above the hatred that divides them? Both actors are the sons of soldiers who fought against each other in the Six Day and Yom Kippur wars.

Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel 

Monday, May 6 • 7:30 p.m.  

Directors:  Jeremy Newberger, Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller
Language: English
Running Time: 87 minutes

A stirring story of sports, patriotism and personal growth, Heading Home charts the underdog journey of Israel’s national baseball team competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic. After years of defeat, Team Israel finally ranks among the world’s best in 2017, eligible to play in the prestigious international tournament. Their line-up included several Jewish American Major League players — Ike Davis, Josh Zeid and ex-Braves catcher Ryan Lavarnway — most with a tenuous relationship to Judaism, and never having set foot in Israel. Their odyssey takes them from Tel Aviv and Jerusalem where they are greeted as heroes, to Seoul where they must debunk their has-been, wannabe reputations. As their “Mensch on a Bench” mascot tags along, the team does much soul-searching, discovering the pride of representing Israel on the world stage.

Celebrate Yom Ha'atzmaut - Israel Independence Day - with Shlomo Lipetz, who played for Team Israel alongside Jewish-American baseball players.  
Shlomo will join us for a free Q&A after the screening of Heading Home.

Shlomo Lipetz, VP of Programming at City Winery, lives a double life as a professional baseball pitcher.  After pitching for San Diego Mesa College, he returned to Israel to pitch for the Netanya Tigers. In 2007, he led the league with a 0.98 ERA and walked only three.  In 2008 and 2011, he pitched for Israel in the European Championship Qualifiers and in 2013 and 2017, pitched for Team Israel in the World Baseball Classic.  The team gained a lot of notoriety in the classic, having been originally ranked 41 in the world, but came in 5th overall.  Shlomo will be playing for the Israeli National Team in the summer of 2019 as one of their ace pitchers on their quest to qualifier for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Japan.  This post-screening Q&A is co-sponsored with Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ and Congregation Beth Israel. 


Tuesday, May 14 • 7:30 p.m.  

Directors:  Jacob Goldwasser
Language: Hebrew with English subtitles
Running Time: 98 minutes

This wholly engaging, tender family dramedy about the knotty relationship between an aging, irascible mechanic and the exuberant special-needs son he abandoned long before, both tested by tribulations that prompt complicated ethical and legal questions with profound ramifications, was nominated for eight Israeli Academy Awards including Best Film. 

Rescue Bus 300 

Monday, May 20 • 7:30 p.m.   

Directors:  Rotem Shamir
Language: Hebrew and Arabic with English subtitles
Running Time: 75 minutes

Ten years before the blockbuster movie "Speed" starring Keanu Reeves, an event of similar nature took place during a hostage takeover by Palestinian terrorists in Israel. Four armed terrorists hijacked Bus no. 300 en route from Tel Aviv to Ashkelon and led the passengers — innocent civilians — towards the refugee camps in Gaza and from there perhaps to oblivion.


In Advance
$12 JCC Member/Senior 62+/Student
$14 General Public

At the Door
$15 General Admission (for all ages)

Series Subscriber
1 ticket for each film
$55 JCC Member/Senior 62+/Student
$65 General Public

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Made possible by funds from the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs,
a partner of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.